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Lavrov (left) and Rice in Potsdam today (AFP)
May 30, 2007 -- Russia's foreign minister today accused the United States of starting a new arms race with its plans to deploy a missile-defense system in Central Europe.
Sergei Lavrov was speaking after a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) major industrial nations in Germany.
In response, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington has repeatedly explained its plan to Moscow, and is ready to discuss the matter further.
Russian officials say the planned defense system is a threat to Russia. The United States says it is aimed at preventing countries like Iran from someday threatening Europe.
Also at the meeting, a statement was issued saying G8 members would support "further appropriate measures" if Iran failed to comply with UN resolutions demanding that it suspend uranium enrichment.
The UN Security Council has already imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend enrichment amid fears it is seeking to produce nuclear weapons.
(Reuters, AP, AFP)